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The Vampire Diaries Review: The Sacrifice, the Aftermath and the Redemption of John Gilbert

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In the moments following "The Sun Also Rises," my wife called it the greatest episode of any show ever. While she has a penchant for hyberbole, this wasn't too big of a stretch.

The action never ceased, the shockers kept coming and the death toll rose, which was sad to watch in a sense, but befitting of an episode devoted to Klaus and the sacrifice ritual.

Even the non-stop changes to the supernatural rule book are sold by terrific storytelling and complex characters one can really invest one's self in, even when you least expect to.

Without further delay, let's break down the major events of "The Sun Also Rises," analyze the fallout, and talk about why this dark chapter of TVD was one of its (if not the) best ...

Klaus Pic

The demise of Jules. Step one of the ritual goes fairly quickly and painlessly. There can't be much time to feel pain when your BEATING HEART IS RIPPED OUT OF YOUR CHEST.

Klaus' Temple of Doom-esque coup de grace further cements his status as the hardest dude out there, with Joseph Morgan's slow, emphatic delivery enhancing the fear factor.

Before she dies, Jules reveals to Elena, trapped in her own ring of fire, that she was only trying to help Tyler. Speaking of our favorite hunky, shirtless canine, Caroline saves him!

The good news for the ladies? Michael Trevino's sculpted frame was gratuitously displayed. The bad news for one lady? Matt has had his fill of all supernatural beings.

Caroline and Tyler should get together since Matt dumped her. Who's with me?!

Stefan's act of heroism. Desperate to save Elena and the remaining people close to her, Stefan offers up himself as the vampire sacrifice instead of a transitioning Jenna.

Appearing on the cliff above in stoic, swoon-worthy fashion, he offered his life to Klaus.

After appearing to mull it over, Klaus isn't interested, stabbing Stefan in the back and casting him aside, citing "bigger plans" for him. For now, poor Jenna is still doomed.

She tries to fight back and kill Klaus' associate Greta, but the newborn vamp had no shot.

Klaus dispatches her immediately, leaving only the doppelganger's blood between himself and lifting the curse that prevents him from siring a race of were-vamp hybrids.

Perhaps that's what his plans were for Stefan? Making him the were-vamp prototype?

Saving Elena's soul. Here's where the episode became almost unnecessarily complicated, and could've been annoying had the actors and writers not sold it so brilliantly.

Bonnie, Jeremy, John and Alaric research a way to ensure Elena doesn't turn into a vampire if and when Klaus kills her. Lo and behold, Emily's spell book has the answer!

It must be convenient to simply write in a way to tether Elena's soul to John's so that she can't be turned. Almost too far-fetched, even on a CW show about vampires.

Nevertheless, it worked because of a surprise twist we'll discuss in a moment.

Family comes first. Bonnie, Damon and Elijah arrive at the scene of the sacrifice just as Klaus savors Elena's blood and begins an epic transition 1,000 years in the making.

Then OMG, it is ON!

Damon breaks Greta's neck and Bonnie overwhelms Klaus rather easily. Elijah, who promised to finish off Klaus personally once Bonnie subdued him, is poised to, but ...

Klaus talks his way out of it! Elijah's motive for revenge was that Klaus killed their family and scattered their bodies at sea. Or so he thought. Klaus says it's not true!

Elijah will only find the rest of the originals if he saves Klaus. Despite pleas from Stefan and Bonnie to proceed with the plan, Elijah splits with Klaus. Just like that.

As great as it would have been for Elijah to kill Klaus right there, you had a hunch it wouldn't happen. Now they're in the wind, with the plot delightfully open-ended.

The New Plan of Attack

John makes the sacrifice. I love that John Gilbert, a thoroughly disliked character for so long, will be remembered as a man who laid down his life for his daughter.

The tethering spell worked and Elena is brought back to life, and in human form. But the side effect is that the person she's tethered to dies. John knew this all along.

Elena, who'd already lost her parents before the pilot episode aired, now has watched her biological mom, biological dad and aunt pass away in a matter of weeks.

The funeral was poignant and the music was fantastic, a moving conclusion to a night filled with carnage and tragedy, but which left the main cast generally unscathed.

Well, except for the small matter of one werewolf bite ...

The torment of Damon Salvatore. I'm going to guess that since Elijah and Klaus peaced out, next week's conclusion to Season 2 will be primarily Delena-related.

He's slowly dying and being eaten alive with guilt. Can Stefan find a way to save his brother, whose dormant humanity is finally rising from the emotional abyss?

Just as importantly, will Damon earn the forgiveness he seeks from Elena?

Clearly, The Vampire Diaries will invent a way to save Damon. But at what cost? Will the bite kill him, only to have the witch's elixir bring him back as a human?

Just my theory. But in the season finale, everything is on the table. After an episode this outstanding, it's amazing there's still one more to come next week.

Some final questions and thoughts before turning it over to you:

  • So the ritual worked, and Klaus is now a full-fledged were-vamp ... somewhere. That alone is enough to make you excited for the third season, isn't it?
  • Elijah's motive for killing Klaus AND his motive for flaking out at the last second were both somehow believable thanks to their back story. Well done.
  • Since Klaus is still alive, Kat is stuck in Alaric's apartment, right?
  • Caroline now knows her mom is in the loop. What will she do?
  • Jeremy and Bonnie are pretty cute together, no?

What did you think of last night's Vampire Diaries? Dark and depressing as it was, was this the best episode of the show to date? Discuss with us below!

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (412 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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At first I thought it was high time Elena became a vampire, after all she does quite quickly in the books and all her friends and family are changing supernaturally one way or the other. Then again, it would just be the obvious solution and she would end up hating Damon forever, and become just as bitter and twisted towards him as he was with Stefan, so maybe when she's finished University or something. Then again, she has just died and come back to life, thanks to a tethering spell, any developments with that? Nope, it looks like Jeremy is going to get a piece of the supernatural action. Is there an orignal Petrova that was used to create the doppleganger in the first place, wouldn't it be great if she was now an Original herself? After all, Elijah (who has just turned out to be a great big soppy vampire with a thing for Elena) does tell Kat that she reminds him of someone.

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after watching the final 2 episodes of season 2, it was truly a big shocking ending since last season's. It was sad to see Elena lose her aunt and parents throughout these 2 episodes, and surprising to see her back still as a human even though Klaus killed her. I say that Klaus should be dead by the end of the 3rd season and all other originals that torment Mystic Falls. Damon was dying, Elena kissed him for felling bad, and the cure was Klaus' blood. Damon was saved all thanks to Stefan but now he's the one being trapped and tormented by Klaus just to pay him for the cure. I hope that Damon will do the same thing and save Stefan as well. Who knows if the 3rd season will end up more darker than New Moon in Twilight? I'm determined to find out what else will happen in the next season's arrival in September. XD =O =) =/

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Why don't you post more quotes in this web site? Only one or two per episode? Boring

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It`s very difficult not choosing Damon as my favourite character. And I must admit that I failed every week with not falling in love with his wonderful manifold dark character and his good inten-sions to win Elenas love. And also the outstanding acting of Ian Sommerhalder.
I`m just like all the other girls.. If I must choose between the perfect boyfriend or a man who`s in the need to be saved from his dark side. I will always choose the complicated way..
But also I love them all in their special way.
First I thought Elena is some kind of boring, and the story was so similar to twilight. But now the similarity is done. Elena will stay human. I love her for this. Being immortal, caught in youthful-ness, this is the stuff everybody wants. But not her.. She wants to grow old, have kids..
also if this means not staying with Stefan forever..
that is wonderful point of her character.
In twilight I could not understand the facts how Bella could be able to leave all the persons she loves behind. I think no love is worse to hurt so many people around..
Then Stefan, when I look back to the episode when he is on human blood. To watch him acting like a junkie was adorable. I hope the writer will get him more room in the future to be not just the perfect boyfriend, every mother wants for her daughter.
To watch him in the last episode, when he realized that he will loose the biggest love of his life, his brother, was outstanding…
In a few seconds he shows all the feelings he has for Damon, except of how his brother is..
This is a truth everybody knows.. You can sometimes hate you siblings, but living without them is a different point. What are we without our family, doesn`t matter how selfish they are.
There is a love you can not explain, it is there, no matter what happen.. I hope, they won`t leave us with an open end. I just want to now that every character I love will still alive, in which form ever, in the next season September 2011..
And I hope that Damon can win Elenas love..
Because their chemistry is perfect together..
Sorry Stefan.. Whatever, I love you three…
And hope that after “As I lay dying� we could still watch you and also, Tyler, Bonnie, Caroline, Ala-ric and Jeremy acting...

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I don't want Damon to die,and even if i know he is not gonna die,because he is one of the main characters,i`m still scared,about what would happen in the end.Elena should see that Damon really loves her,and he was about to die for her many times.They belong together.Stefan is boring ,he was taking her to a hiking ,while Damon was bit by a werewolf,trying to save her life and also Ty's and Caroline's.He cares about people,more than Stefan,because while Stefan is just saying that he would save them,Damon is the one who really save them,like was with Bonnie ,it was Damon's ideea,to pretend she is death.Not stefan's.
Anyway,stefan is boring and he is also a coward.
And i want Caroline and Tyler together.They are so cute together,and the scene when she got under the blanket ,even though Tyler was naked was great :).They should be together.

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I'm not you're typical TVD fan, I'm a hard core horror fan, I hate even the thought of twilight/sparkling vampires, I want my vamps evil and uncaring. The more blood & guts the better. Somewhere along the line though I watched TVD, and I liked it. I'm now a faithful follower, it's my guilty pleasure, and I deal with a lot of ridicule from my fellow horror fans for watching it. I likes what I likes, thats all I can say. I haven't read the books that this series is based on so some of you may know better then me how closelt the series follows them or what to expect next. I kind of like not knowing though, just the anticipation of it all. You people that are crying "don't let Damon die!" Do you really think they would let him?? TVD is about Damon, Stefan, and Elena. Everyone else can come and go but those three must remain. The writers aren't dumb, they know who writes their meal ticket! I'm sure he's going to go through some trial & tribulation to stay "alive" but in the end he'll be fine. My guess, he'll have to drink Tylers blood which will make him a hybrid and a worthy adversary to Klause. I get the feeling both Aleric and Matt are getting some hard core resentment towards vampires. They both just want normal lives and the damn vamps keep messing that up! I see the two of them teaming up against vamps in the future, maybe even against those they loved. Which kind of rules out Aleric stepping in as guardian. Why would he anyway? He has no legal rights to do so. I guess maybe it would work on TV, just not real life. Whatever happens I also hope they get away from this 'oh heres a convient spell to save the day' thing. While I'm watching and I'm caught up in it it's ok but afterwards when I think about it it's cheesy.

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CAN'T WAIT till Delena episode! Finally, this what I've been dying for! Maybe this is the real start of the turn. Can't forget, I also heart Care and Ty. I feel bad that I don't care for Stef as much as I used to. I just don't want him and Elena as endgame and I was an original stelena shipper. Maybe Damon comes back as a hybrid or human? Amazing what he will do when he truly luvs a woman. Its incredible to watch, the best tv character of all time.

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My heart literally broke when Jenna was staked.

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Loved Delena and Tyler/Caroline! Damon can not die tho! Sick of Stefans "perfect" act, can he be more boring?!! Hoping this final epi gives us Damons humanity and a delena moment. Ooh and throw in some Tyler/Caroline and I'll be happy!!!

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I wonder who will become Elena and Jeremy's new guardian. Will Alaric adopt them or will the writers create a distant relative? I've heard rumors that Alaric will die but those might of course be false, most rumors are.

The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Episode 21 Quotes

Tyler: You were right. I shouldn't have come home.
Caroline: No, you just...should have never left. And you shouldn't leave again.
Tyler: You're kidding, right? This is the second time I've tried to kill you.
Caroline: Well, no friendship is perfect.

(voiceover, in his letter to Elena) Elena, it's no easy task being an ordinary parent to an extraordinary child. I failed in that task. And because of my prejudices, I failed you. I'm haunted by how things might have played out differently if I'd been more willing to hear your side of things. For me, it's the end. For you, a chance to grow old and someday do better with your own child than I did with mine. It's for that child that I give you my ring. I don't ask for your forgiveness or for you to forget. I ask only that you believe this. Whether you are now reading this as a human or as a vampire, I love you all the same. As I've always loved you, and always will. John.

John
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